Rebels with a Heart:
The New Rules of Leadership

Talent Strategy: Designing The New Future Of Work

Wednesday, August 25th, 2021

11:00 AM PT | 1:00 PM CT | 2:00 PM ET


  • Nikki Lanier – Distinguished Private & Public Sector CHRO +   Adjunct Professor of HR, University of Louisville
  • Jim LinkCHRO & Human Capital Strategist
  • John StainesManaging Director, ZRG Partners, LLC + HR Leader with Fortune 100 companies to startups

Moderated by: Derek Lundsten, President & CEO, LifeGuides


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There is no denying the pandemic has changed the talent landscape and created the need for a whole new approach to The Future Of Work. In many cases, employees are languishing with an accumulated mental, emotional and physical toll over the past 18 months.  Leaders need to thoughtfully consider this human side, as they plan their re-entry strategies. What will it take to fill a languishing workforce with energy, drive and enthusiasm again?

There are many pieces to work out logistically, tactically and financially; it is easy to lose sight of our people. And, it’s not an option to return to our previous ways. Instead, with our astute panel of innovative HR leaders, we have the opportunity to realize something very different, as we design The New Future of Work together.

Over the hour, topics include:

  • Addressing head-on the many complexities and various landmines of designing a post-covid workplace.  
  • Parlaying our newly discovered capabilities (remote work, less travel, lightning-quick strategic pivots, etc.), while understanding what our employees, customers and organization really need.
  • How to empower your people to be thriving again – and using it to attract new talent in today’s highly competitive landscape

Meet This Month’s Rebels:


Nikki Lanier has vast experience across the private and public sectors in human resources, from CHRO for Charter Schools USA and Vice Chancellor of Human Resources for Maricopa Community Colleges to Philip Morris USA, Georgia Pacific and ADP. She has also served as Personnel Cabinet Secretary for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and other positions in the health care, finance and legal fields. Throughout her career, her roles have focused on strategic planning, community partnerships, succession planning, recruitment and retention, and labor negotiations.

In particular, Nikki has an incisive ability to design and accurately analyze actionable metrics to quantify organizational performance and assess employed strategies. As a collaborative leader, she is passionate about building synergetic teams in multi-cultural and cross-functional environments.

With her deep involvement in the Louisville community, Nikki is an Adjunct Professor of HR at University of Louisville, plus serves on the boards of numerous organizations including: Greater Louisville Inc.; Louisville Regional Airport Authority; Board of Advisors of University of Louisville’s College of Business and Family Scholar House; Robert S. Miller Family Foundation for Equity and Justice, Inc.  She also serves on the UNCF Louisville Leadership Council and is a member of the Kentucky International Women’s Forum and the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. In 2021, Nikki was named by Louisville Business First as one of the region’s Power 50 and has been recognized as one of the 10 Most Influential Women of Louisville.

Nikki earned her J.D. from the University of Miami School of Law and a Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Hampton University. 


Jim Link is an Atlanta-based business consultant and former Fortune 500 executive specializing in equipping leaders with the tools needed to build best-in-class, inclusive workplaces to drive revenue and profitability.

Jim’s experience includes roles of increasing responsibility in human resources, mergers and acquisitions, and operational effectiveness.  His personal interests include talent acquisition management, employee and leadership development, equality and equity, employee engagement, internal innovation, and driving rapid business scalability through both organic and inorganic, often complex, growth opportunities.

As a recognized thought leader in human capability and the future of work, Jim is a sought-after commentator with international and national press and speaker circuits, plus consults with global leaders, companies and boards of directors on matters related to the workplace.

Additionally, he is in his tenth year as an Adjunct Professor teaching Human Resources Strategy in the MBA program at the Poznan School of Economics in Poznan, Poland and entering his second year teaching the same topic to graduate students in Yangon, Myanmar.

While serving on boards of advisors for several early-stage companies, Jim is a board member of the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) Foundation and Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Human Capital Advisory Council.  He is active with a number of charitable organizations in his community and is certified, as a SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP).

John Staines is an innovative and strategic Human Resources leader with extensive global experience – from startups to Fortune 100 companies. As a LatinX CHRO (born in Lima, Peru), he cherishes his Latin American roots. John led global HR teams and developed talent management programs, with a special passion around Culture, Employee Inspiration, and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.

As VP, HR Officer at Cigna, he developed a high potential leadership program, applauded by The Boston Globe and Catalyst, an NGO focused on womens leadership, as a best-in-class leadership program for women.  At The Gap, as VPHR, Global Supply Chain, he connected DE&I and business strategy to improve store performance.  At Mattel, John combined three distinct business unit cultures and talent programs, with a combined savings of $385M, while improving talent pipelines and improving employee engagement by 30%.  John also held many HR leadership positions at PepsiCo, where he developed the first Voice Response Benefit Enrollment process in corporate America.

John received his BS in Economics with Honors from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his MBA from the University of Michigan.

John has served on several non-profit boards, including the American Diabetes Association of South Florida, the Board of Trustees of Renbrook School (West Hartford CT), and Vice Chair of AYSO – Region 1258.